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The Template of the Conflicted Pastor

Orange Leaders
Orange Leaders Tuesday March 20, 2012
<? echo $type; ?> The Template of the Conflicted Pastor

by Billy Phenix

I love that God devoted a considerable section of the Scriptures peering into the life of David. The study of David’s life is complex because it seems like a walking contradiction.

Think about David’s resume.

On one hand, he was an:

  • Adulterer
  • Murderer
  • Liar
  • Father of dysfunctional children (one of which tried to murder him)
  • Victim of emotional instability
  • Manipulator
  • Homeless wanderer

Yet, on the other hand, he was a:

  • Strategic national leader and military hero
  • Powerful worshiper
  • Heartfelt author
  • Prayer warrior
  • Voracious lover of God’s Word
  • “A man after my own heart,” as described by God, Himself.

So, what do you do with David? Sometimes, you want to emulate his leadership. Other times, not so much. I love reading about the guy because I can relate. I connect with David because his journey is mine—and, likely, yours.

Even amid David’s diverse leadership resume, Psalm 78 tells us a little bit about David’s template for leadership. I love it. It says:

“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them,” (Psalm 78:72).

With all of his gifts and challenges, David shepherded (pastored) them with integrity of heart and skillful hands. What a great combination! Both are essential, but, often, leaders try to lead with one and not the other.

Think about the leader that lacks integrity of heart (even though he or she may be skilled). This leader is talented, but can be self-consumed, egotistical, insensitive, or even a jerk. This person can gain a following and produce great results on paper. However he is also susceptible to cheat, manipulate, or build facades around parts of his life that reveal his eroded character. This person is more about being a leader, than pastoring people. They lack integrity of heart.

On the other end of the spectrum, think about the leader with a great heart, but who was ineffective (unskilled) at what he or she does. Describe this leader as: “Great guy. Horrible leader.” “She means well, but can’t communicate clearly.” “He’s passionate, but isn’t organized enough to be effective.” The heartfelt, skill-challenged leader loves people and Jesus, but can’t lead a group well. It is the leader who WANTS to be good, but isn’t disciplined enough to make it happen. It is the leader that has no plan for development, no refined systems, no avenue for feedback, and no long-range vision. They are lacking “skilled hands.”

If we follow David’s template we need with both heart and skill to lead and pastor

  • Integrity of heart – (Having a Christ-like heart)
    • Christ-centered – Is your leadership about you or Jesus?
    • Morally sound Are your morals beyond reproach?
    • Passionate Are you driven by your passion for Christ or do you simply do a job?
    • Humble Is your ego driving you to make this about you?
    • Accountable Who confronts you on your issues?
    • Laden with Fruits of the Spirit – Do those that you lead see evidence of the Spirit in all that you do?

If you don’t have positive responses to these questions, be warned. You just may have heart problems.

  • Skillful hands – (Being proficient and adept)
    • Organized and efficient – Is your organization well tuned and efficient?
    • A good communicator (and communicative) – Are you giving your organization clear direction around their jobs, mission and goals?
    • Biblically knowledgeable Are you rooted in Scripture? Do you use the Bible for the foundation of decisions?
    • Doggedly dedicated to high quality Are you tenacious that all that you do (and your organization does) is excellent?
    • A clear, motivating vision – Do you lead your organization to have a rallying cry that unifies thinking?

If you don’t have positive responses to these questions, be warned. Your skill level may not be where it needs to be.

Which of the areas above would you like to improve the most as a leader?

Billy Phenix is the campus pastor of Buckhead Church. He was on the initial team that launched this first, off-site campus of North Point Ministries in 2001. In this role, Billy leads the staff of Buckhead Church and oversees all aspects of its operations. Previous to his role as campus pastor, he served in a variety of areas in NPM, including singles, students, and children’s ministries as well as Starting Point. Prior to joining NPM in 2000, Billy worked in full-time student ministry and as a corporate architect for Chick-fil-A, Inc. Billy is an Atlanta native, Georgia Tech grad, and currently lives in East Cobb with his wife, Joy, and their children, Ellie and Josh. You can connect with Billy at www.BuckheadChurch.org, Or follow him on Twitter, @billyphenix.

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